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Prodi insists he didn't meddle in Telecom Italia's restructuring plans

Prodi insists he didn't meddle in Telecom Italia's restructuring plans

Italian Premier Romano Prodi insisted on Thursday that he didn't meddle in a restructuring plan at Telecom Italia SpA, saying his government had only expressed hope that the company would remain under Italian control.
Speaking to the Italian Senate, Prodi said that in talks with then-Telecom Italia Chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera, he was only told of a possible partnership with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and not of a plan to separate the company's fixed-line and mobile phone businesses.
"I was never informed of any plan on Telecom Italia," the premier said, reiterating statements he made in a speech to the lower house of parliament last week.
Once told of the possible Murdoch deal "the government limited itself to expressing hope that control of the country's most important telecommunications company would remain in Italian hands," he said.
The separation plan that the Telecom Italia board later approved was seen by many as paving the way for the sale of the company's mobile unit and raised fears that TIM _ the only mobile phone company operating in Italy that is under Italian control _ would end up in foreign hands.
The public spat led to Tronchetti Provera's resignation just days after announcing the reorganization plan on Sept. 11. He has been replaced by Guido Rossi, who ran the Telecom group in the late 1990s and has indicated he intends to go ahead with the reorganization.
Tronchetti Provera has repeatedly hit back at Prodi for denying knowledge of the plan. In an interview published Wednesday in the Financial Times, the former Telecom head said there was "no doubt" that Prodi had been told that a sale of TIM assets was possible.
In an apparent jab at Tronchetti Provera, Prodi told the Senate on Thursday that "an interview given by (Telecom's) ex-chairman doesn't constitute proof that the premier and his government were aware of such a plan."


Updated : 2021-05-07 09:52 GMT+08:00